book cover of Curious Toys
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Curious Toys

(2019)
A novel by

 
 
An intrepid young woman stalks a murderer through turn-of-the-century Chicago in "this rich, spooky, and atmospheric thriller that will appeal to fans of Henry Darger and Erik Larson alike" (Sarah McCarry).

In the sweltering summer of 1915, Pin, the fourteen-year-old daughter of a carnival fortune-teller, dresses as a boy and joins a teenage gang that roams the famous Riverview amusement park, looking for trouble.

Unbeknownst to the well-heeled city-dwellers and visitors who come to enjoy the midway, the park is also host to a ruthless killer who uses the shadows of the dark carnival attractions to conduct his crimes. When Pin sees a man enter the Hell Gate ride with a young girl, and emerge alone, she knows that something horrific has occurred.

The crime will lead her to the iconic outsider artist Henry Darger, a brilliant but seemingly mad man. Together, the two navigate the seedy underbelly of a changing city to uncover a murderer few even know to look for.

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"When great artists meet -- in this case Henry Darger and Elizabeth Hand -- extraordinary things happen. For years Elizabeth Hand has been the supreme writer's writer, an inside secret among those in the know. With Curious Toys, Elizabeth Hand confirms her place as one of the great writers of our era. This book is exactly what you want to read -- absorbing, intelligent, bold. As the author says, only a girl would be so brave." - Sara Gran

"Curious Toys is an utterly compelling read with a sleuth who will win your heart. This is one mystery you won't want to miss." - Ellen Hart

"Elizabeth Hand is a national treasure. Sinister sideshow hustlers, back alley intrigues, and brilliant outsiders: Turn-of-the-century underworld Chicago comes alive in this rich, spooky, and atmospheric thriller that will appeal to fans of Henry Darger and Erik Larson alike." - Sarah McCarry

"Curious Toys is wonderful! I stayed up late two nights in a row, transported. It will be catnip for readers who love Chicago, circuses, cross-dressers, and early cinema." - Audrey Niffenegger

"Elizabeth Hand crafts a story that is, to borrow her own phrasing late in Curious Toys, 'gruesome but peculiar, ' a fun-house mirror of a novel filled with Chicago history and detail. Dark and thrilling." - Lori Rader-Day

"This book contains a rare kind of perfection: Elizabeth Hand's rough, observant magic draws into its circle great historical accuracy, a cross-dressing central protagonist, a wonderfully tender portrait of the great Outsider Artist Henry Darger, a vibrant thriller plot, reflections on gender and its place in civic order, a helpful Ben Hecht, and one of the greatest climactic drop-the-mic moments I've ever read -- and does all this while patiently setting into place the warm emotional armatures that make Curious Toys so moving." - Peter Straub


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Used availability for Elizabeth Hand's Curious Toys

Hardback Editions

October 2019 : USA Hardback
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Title: Curious Toys
Author(s): Elizabeth Hand
ISBN: 0-316-48588-8 / 978-0-316-48588-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

September 2020 : USA Paperback
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Title: Curious Toys
Author(s): Elizabeth Hand
ISBN: 0-316-48591-8 / 978-0-316-48591-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Audio Editions

October 2019 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Curious Toys
Author(s): Elizabeth Hand
ISBN: 1-5491-5441-9 / 978-1-5491-5441-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Hachette B and Blackstone Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


October 2019 : USA Audio CD
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Title: Curious Toys: Library Edition
Author(s): Elizabeth Hand
ISBN: 1-5491-5439-7 / 978-1-5491-5439-3 (USA edition)
Publisher: Blackstone Pub
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


October 2019 : USA Audio edition
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Title: Curious Toys
Author(s): Elizabeth Hand
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Availability: Amazon   


October 2019 : Canada Audio edition
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Title: Curious Toys
Author(s): Elizabeth Hand
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Availability: Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

October 2019 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Curious Toys
Author(s): Elizabeth Hand
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA